Opening doors – and not lingering in the hallway

April 17, 2017 by Lee Hinson-Hasty

Editor’s note: We’ve asked Presbyterian ministers to write short pieces for us on how their seminary education changed their lives and impacted their ministries. Rev. Steve Melde, pastor of Christ Presbyterian in Tucson, obliged. We’re grateful he took the time to tell us how he decided to go to seminary and which path he chose. 

By Rev. Steve Melde
Pastor, Christ Presbyterian, Tucson, Arizona

To say that seminary education changed my life for the better would be an understatement.

I struggled with God for what would lay ahead of me in my life. What was I going to be when I grew up left me with two distinct directions, both of which would honor God and require all of me. And I was lost between the two, as they were divergent pathways.

It’s been said that “When God closes one door, God opens another, but it’s Hell in the hallway.” That was true for me for a few years as I came to the fork in the road and chose a pathway. It took me a few years, and some hellish times in that hallway, to realize I had chosen the wrong pathway. Once I admitted that full-time ministry and seminary was the pathway for my life, the proverbial boulder upon me fell off, and I felt a lightness to my life like never before (and in some ways, not since).

I had to convince family that this was not some passing thought, but a life change, and a calling that had to be followed. Much to my surprise they had known before I did. One said to me, “Oh good. I have so many questions.”

Then came the time to choose a seminary. I read about them all, visited three of them, and finally decided. “We want to help you be a learner for life,” was the catch phrase of the day that hooked me into a final choice.

That was exactly what I needed, and that is exactly what my seminary education has given me and created me to be. And that is exactly how I have lived my professional time since graduation.

Upon graduation, I went to that questioning-family-member who was so excited that I would be going to seminary to learn about God, and admit that I didn’t have answers, but I now had better questions.

29 years later, I am still learning. And the foundations of learning that I gained in my time in seminary has guided every moment.

I am grateful for the foundation of my seminary education in the PC(USA).